Though many wouldn’t believe it – the healthiest foods are also the cheapest! Fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the cheapest things you can buy. In the yogic tradition, it is believed that when foods are unprocessed they contain more prana (or life-force energy). That means more anti-oxidants, more vital nutrients and more overall health benefits.
Here are some great ways to eat healthy without breaking the bank:
- Choose fresh fruits and vegetables If you’re a busy person. Produce should be a staple food for you. Not only do they require no cooking or prep. They also taste delicious. Keeping fruits in plain sight is a sure found way to stay physically healthy and also not break the budget.
- Look for sales and perks at your local health food store. I was at Whole Foods Market the other day and they had an entire bin of free fresh fruits for kids 12 and under. It did say “please take one each”, but I thought that was pretty awesome.
- Buy frozen Sometimes going frozen is cheaper. You can get organic fruits which can be used for the ultimate smoothie. Frozen veggies can still taste really good if heated properly.
- Meal Replacement There are some great protein and meal replacement powders that can be used to get lots of vitamins, minerals and even probiotics. They are easy, no hassle, and get the job done. Replacing one meal a day with one of these drinks can actually be very healthy for you if done in conjunction with a healthy diet. It is also easy on the wallet. Try Garden of Life Raw Meal or Sun Warrior Raw Vegan Protein.
- Buy bars in bulk In pretty much any store if you buy a whole pack of health food bars they give you a 10% discount.
- Hit up a farmer’s market These markets are a way to get the healthiest produce, period. Buying at a farmer’s market ensures that the food is grown locally – which means that it is picked when ripe, in season, and more than likely it’s organic (just ask).
- Join a CSA – Subscribing to a CSA (community-supported agriculture) is a way to get a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Typically, you chose what you want online and there is a beautiful box awaiting you at a pick-up location in the area. Some even deliver to your doorstep. What I love about CSA’s is that it encourages eating foods that you would not typically chose otherwise. It is also a great way to increase your cooking skills and expand your culinary repitoir.
- Get with a Farmer’s Collective or Co-op There are many of these popping up in cities nationwide. You basically volunteer your time for reduced-cost produce as well as other locally grown and raised foods.
- Trade Maybe you have a service to offer a farm like web design or even helping at their store. You may be able to score some free food or at least at a discount.
- Work part-time at a health food store If you’re a starving student, this is a no brainer. Employees obviously get discounts and even free samples at times.
- Chose from bulk bins You can save so much money by simply scooping your desired amount out of these giant tubs. They usually have great deals on nuts, seeds, lentils, and dried beans (healthier than canned). These are also a good way to get any grains you desire from oats to whole wheat flour. Some of my favorite snacks are also in bulk bins, from plantain chips to dried dates. You can get everything here!
- Eat less meat Meat can be so expensive! Instead, go for a more plant-based diet. Many use the excuse that it will not provide enough protein for them. Did you know that per calorie, spinach has more protein than ground beef? Let’s stop the excuses folks!
- Skip Starbucks You have no idea how much money you can save simply by brewing your own tea or coffee. I know people who unknowingly spend $50+ a week at various coffee shops. Invest in a coffee maker, or even just a coffee strainer.
- Grow your own! Even if you live in a tiny apartment with barely any sunlight – you’re still not off the hook. There is a new wave of urban gardeners that say almost any living situation is ripe for growing your own food. Even if it’s a small herb garden, a low-maintenance tomato plant, or a pot of kale, it’s totally worth it.